Ditto, Tessa.
Ardith McCann

I understand, Ardith McCann (linking in the hope it helps you see this comment easily). I’ve noted before (ad nauseam?) that the platform isn’t very friendly when it comes to helping “lesser seen” writers become more visible. I think the biggest problem with that is it’s extremely discouraging to newer writers or writers who don’t post a ton; and ultimately a lot of them probably decide it’s not worth it and stop returning. That’s not a good outcome for anyone, including Medium.

The issue is complex because there’s just so much being posted and going on here everyday — spread across umpteen accounts that may or may not be very active — that it is natural a good portion of what’s written simply won’t be seen, let alone read, by anyone. Add to that the fact that it’s quite difficult to compete against the “big names” like celebrities, politicians, internet gurus, academia, journalists, professional content marketers, Medium staff, those with already large-ish followings, and other “click attracting” writers that Medium, as a business, naturally wants to promote.

What irks me the most about the issue is some people will retort rather unhelpfully that: “you need to work harder for it” or “you need to write better” or things along those lines. Yet what they fail to acknowledge or understand is such statements translate into “emulate the ‘big names,’” which in my mind doesn’t help the writer or the dilemma whatsoever. What if the writer is someone who doesn’t want to mimic the ‘biggies’ and just wants to be him/herself? Unfortunately I think writing that way is generally punished on a platform like Medium because then the attainment of visibility is that much slower. *Chances, clicks, hearts, and follows happen less frequently if you’re not very actively chasing them. (I suppose that’s what my “problem” is: I don’t write here to chase.)

*There are some possible exceptions that may help visibility:

  • Promotion by ‘biggies’: This one depends a lot on the altruism of Medium ‘biggies’ and, in my opinion, cannot be relied upon as the vast majority of them do not want to increase their own competition. Anyhow, visibility can be urged along by the assistance of ‘biggies’ who happen to take a shine to you and help promote you and your specific pieces with hearts, follows, and name-links. I don’t think this happens much at all, so again, please take it with a grain of salt.
  • Writing and commenting on popular and status quo topics: What is social media talking about? What are the politically correct social and political hot topics of the day, week, month? Write a lot about those things, and your visibility will increase. To be clear this means you need to keep your writing well within the boundaries of Medium’s collective belief system. For example you don’t want to be writing pieces on why you love being “old and conservative.” (Example courtesy of a random piece in my feed by a ‘biggie’ who felt the need to attempt to offend the 4 people on Medium who might fit that description.)
  • Getting pieces published on popular publications: This one kind of goes without saying; it’s easy to see how it can help grow visibility. Personally I don’t much care for the publications construct as it is seems similar enough to traditional publishing that it makes me sigh. I would much rather the individual be able to easily promote himself and not feel that it is “most easily done” through publications. But to expand on that would likely lead to a chicken-or-egg argument that isn’t worth it given publications are here to stay. Bottom line: If popular, traditional Medium publications are your thing, try to get published on them.
  • Writing on a personal subject that resonates with a large enough audience: Of all the exceptions this one is my favorite because it tends toward celebrating writing as authentic expression. The catch is there does have to be a decent-sized audience for the subject, and you may not know whether it exists until you release a good number of pieces. Examples might be: writing on local/regional culture or life, or writing on tech/arts hobbies or professions like design, photography, etc. No doubt there’s some intersection with the 2nd bullet here as well. Anyway, I appreciate this “method” most though I haven’t been able to apply it well myself — I don’t really want to zero in on one subject, I’d rather write on whatever inspires me at any given moment.

So.. those are just my thoughts and observations at this point in time. If any of the above especially appeal to you, you may want to try them. I very much hope you keep writing here though; I dearly appreciate your presence. :)

P.S. For my fiction needs, there is at least one other platform out there that might be as good, maybe even better in terms of its focus on the individual, but I haven’t invested a lot of time on it yet. But I do always have that in the back of my mind, and it gives me some extra comfort.